Hennepin County Sheriff's Office to Remove School Resource Officer

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hennepin county sheriff dawanna s witt

Media Release


Media Contact: Kelsey Demmert, 612-919-5918


Hennepin County Sheriff's Office to Remove School Resource Officer

August 29, 2023 (Minneapolis) - The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office (HCSO), in response to the recent amendments to statewide school discipline laws, will remove their school resource officer (SRO) from Rockford High School, located in Rockford Area School District 883. The decision to do so was not an easy one to make. However, the recent amendments cause significant concern for law enforcement agencies across the state. Agencies must weigh the risks of SROs operating under these changes with potentially conflicting obligations as a licensed peace officer in the state to act in the best interest of public safety.

“I believe school resource officers have incredible value in educational environments,” said Sheriff Dawanna Witt. “I know from personal experience the connections and relationships that are built between the students and officers in that setting. It is my hope that we can continue to navigate the needs and concerns of community members. Unfortunately, the ambiguous limitations imposed this year are incompatible with sworn duties of a licensed peace officer. In an ideal world, there would never be a need for SROs to use physical restraint in the school environment. But when the need to respond to a serious incident arises, they need to know that they will not be held liable for appropriately fulfilling that duty.”

The decision will impact the HCSO deputy assigned as SRO at Rockford High School, as well as the staff and students who have formed relationships with the deputy and the Sheriff’s Office. “While we understand the circumstances that led to this difficult decision, it deeply saddens the school district to know that we won’t see the familiar face of our Hennepin County SRO in the halls when school starts,” said Superintendent Dr. Jeff Ridlehoover of the Rockford Area Schools. “My experiences with SROs have been positive ones, SROs are a part of the fabric of the school. They support kids and families in difficult times and build meaningful relationships. We hope that we can welcome them back to our district soon.”  

HCSO also remains hopeful that reasonable conclusions can be reached by the state so that deputies and officers around Minnesota are able to safely, and appropriately resume their roles in our schools.



Look for more news on the Hennepin County Sheriff's website at hennepinsheriff.org.